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Thread: Exceptions to the 180 degree rule?

  1. #1
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    Default Exceptions to the 180 degree rule?

    So it's a given that breaking the 180 rule is a no-no in most cases.. It disorientates the viewer, and takes you out of place from focussing on what's going on in a scene.
    But are there any instances where breaking the rule doesn't matter.. or lends itself to some sort of conscious creative decision? Do certain angles work while breaking the rule?

    Personally, do you strictly abide by this, or use it as more of a loose guideline to follow? I ask this as the last production I was involved with.. the director and DP were always arguing about the importance of abiding to the 180 rule or not..

  2. #2
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    I keep it in mind, but never limit myself to following it.
    You can't break the rules unless you know what they are.

    So I often break it, just because I can. In montages it's ok. In a scene that's progressive, you probably want to pay more attention to it.

    But I go with what looks good.

  3. #3
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    The Golden Rule of editing: If it looks right, it is right. If it looks wrong it is wrong.

    By the 180 degree rule I assume you're talking about "crossing the line". My mantra is; the closer the shot, the more you should (not must) avoid crossing the line. If you're cutting to a wide shot then you can often get away with it. The viewer can see where everyone is and doesn't get lost. Having said that, it is a risk and the camera operator (or DoP) will point out a line cross to avoid the situation in the edit where it simply doesn't work. It should work, the theory says it should work, on location it looked like it would work but in the edit it simply looks wrong... the Golden Rule comes into play.

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    It's not a rule it's a dogma but like all dogmas it has become divisive.

    A shot that doesnt cross the line can flop one that does can look seemeless.

    As Guru says if it works it works.

    And the answer to that question is affected by many things. The genre, the style of filming, the directors intention, the restrictions of the set / location / shed and so on.

    It is impoortnant not just to know the rule but to really understnd where this rule comes from and why and then it can be used creatively.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith 5 View Post
    It disorientates the viewer, and takes you out of place from focussing on what's going on in a scene.
    Which is why it's a great thing to do if you want to disorientate the viewer.
    Like all these sorts of rules, knowing (a) that they exist and (b) why they exist, is what's important. That's how you make your decision as to whether to stick with it or deliberately break it.
    I think Guru's point is well made (and comes from his wealth of experience). It may seem to work on the shoot, but not work in the edit. If at all unsure and if time permits either (a) do a test shoot/edit or (b) take a backup shot that doesn't cross the line - just in case.
    Tim

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    Personally I like to cross all lines.... lols.

  7. #7
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    As other have said, if it works then do it!

    If are really keen for a more analytical discussion and explanation then have a read of Grammar of the Film Language: Amazon.co.uk: Daniel Arijon: Books and look especially hard at chapter 15 starting on page 289 "Irregular Cases". Contains a good half a dozen examples of shot types doing this and explains all the why's and wherefore's of each shot type too and why you might do it.

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